Writing — a part of User Experience
“Tensed” was the emotion I had when I came to know that blog writing is a part of my User Experience program. Though I am from an English medium education background, I have never been a fan of writing. Going to high school I never even enjoyed writing an essay for my English class. I always had a phobia and considered myself an awful writer who needed help writing a Statement of Purpose. By now I might have written 8 UX articles and I can confidently say that it is a skill a UX designer should possess and this assignment has surely improved us to be a better writer.
The field of UX design has branched out into various specializations like UX researcher and UX writer but this does not mean a designer can be ignorant about the basic skills required in improving the User Experience. The skill of writing is an important tool to communicate with the users as well with the team. It is crucial to document a research to convey the correct findings which will be used by the design team to improvise a design. Any element to which the user is interacting is important as it becomes the part of the user experience.
After an experience of writing a few articles and working on few UX projects, the essentials of writing is based on the understanding that content is an experience we are giving to a user and it should be straightforward and as simple as possible and the designers need to predict the user psychology to decide the most appropriate content which makes the users connect themselves with the interface.
Content is also an experience
Starting with the content of the on-boarding process, using brief and correct words makes the application easy to use. There should be clarity, consistency and a logical flow of information. Flooding the screen with arrows and text will not make the users read; hence it is important how a designer distributes the information and lets the user perform a task. The best example is Craigslist which has the most basic design but the content makes a user successfully perform their task. This is the perfect example of a good User experience without a lavish design; in this case, all the work is done by the content.
A user interface can be more successful when user expectations are understood and the interface maps to them. If the entry point into a user interface involves a user’s making a decision, the content is very important. — Gavin Lew
Make it straight & simple
Each word used in an interface has to be well thought. A designer using a word to describe an action should have a sensible justification for it. Generic statements and words make it complicated for interpretations. The language used should be easily understandable to the lowest common level.
‘If you have to hang a sign on it, you’ve lost the battle.’ — Don Norman
Try reading minds
Writing a description or direction to use a product needs a complete understanding of the users. To identify the critical and confusing interactions or user path, user testing plays a key role. Answering the questions or FAQ’s which the users will have is a successful content description. Anticipation can only occur if there a thorough knowledge.
Forming a connection
Content which does not connect with the audience does not grab the attention. A simple use of the second person will personalize it and the users will feel it is just meant to them. Replacing ‘we’ with ‘you’ will create a huge difference. This will create a focus just on the users and not on you.
This exercise of writing design articles has made me more conscious towards picking the correct term, editing and the most important reading more. Writing is a skill which can just get better as we practice and an important part of being a good writer is developing a habit of reading which sub-consciously develops your brain and widens your vocabulary and vision.